what we do
The Paul Chester Children's Hope Foundation (PCCHF) is a registered 501c3 charity that provides medical assistance to children and families in developing countries, giving them a chance to live productive lives through well-conceived medical interventions. We perform reconstructive surgery (i.e. club foot and cleft palate repair, burn scar revision, ear tubes, eye surgery, etc.) and work to arrest preventable, curable diseases (e.g. trachoma, glaucoma).
The Foundation provides highly specialized medical assistance to individuals and families in developing countries where such services are unavailable due to logistics or economic circumstances. The Foundation harnesses the expertise of medical professionals and local agencies to identify opportunities for maximum social impact, and then funds and completes the medical or surgical interventions deemed most viable.
The PCCHF core base is made up of volunteers - both medical and administrative, which vary from 50-200 in any given year. On the organizational side, the small group is made up of 5-7 dedicated individuals who meet regularly to discuss, plan and pilot missions. Our medical volunteers coordinate, and execute the missions with the assistance of logistics volunteers and in-country counterparts who have requested our assistance.
A typical mission takes place over ten days with a team of medical professionals and organizers in collaboration with officials from the host country. The number of surgeries performed is directly linked to funding, number of volunteers and the capacity of the local hospital.
For example, a 2003 mission to Ecuador resulted in 110 successful surgeries, with a team of 20 foreign medical volunteers. Safe passage for supplies and staff was provided by the Consul General and the First Lady of Ecuador. The medical procedures provided largely addressed disfiguring conditions that have a tremendously negative impact on the livelihood of the afflicted individual.
My big brother's legacy. Paul was a gentle spirit; he was kind, thoughtful, and very protective of me. He gave himself one hundred percent, and the family doctors, nurses, students, and donors at PCCHF have done the same. I truly believe that every life has an impact. At Paul's wake, over 2,000 people lined up around several blocks to pay respects. On PCCHF missions I see in person how one hour surgery, one week seeing patients, and even one small toy given to a child can make their lives just a little bit better. What are we here for if not for that?
- Alina Chester
The Foundation was co-founded by Dr. Bill Chester and Roxolana Kuzmak in 2004 to honor the memory of Paul Chester, whose tragic death at age 16 cut short a life determined to help those less fortunate. Paul's last days were spent in preparation to accompany his father, Dr. Bill Chester, on a medical mission. The Paul Chester Children's Hope Foundation was established to honor the spirit and passion of this remarkable young man, and to sustain the vital work that Paul had hoped to accomplish in his life.
During its founding stage, The Paul Chester Children's Hope Foundation was sponsored by the Pan American Medical Society (PAMS). PAMS was established over 70 years ago as a scientific, humanitarian, and educational institution in Washington, DC, has recently begun an active program of overseas medical missions serving the countries of South and Central America. Missions to South and Central America will continue to be run as a joint effort between the two organizations. Dr. Bill Chester is the President-elect for 2005 of PAMS.
Oksana Pidhoreckyj - Executive Director
Oksana Pidhoreckyj is a fashion expert and has worked in all realms of media, from broadcasting & live events, to print design & photography, and has even appeared in several commercials. After being introduced to PCCHF in 2005, Oksana’s first trip was on a medical mission to Quito, Ecuador. With a passion for creating visuals of those in need in order to create awareness, she joined PCCHF on a mission to Kenya in 2007 to document the indigent tribal lifestyle of the local community of Laikipia. Not only is it her versatility that plays such a key role when the PCCHF team ventures into new terrain that makes her such a valuable member of our team, but it is also her cheerful & hospitable nature that helps everyone involved feel like part of the family.
Dr. Ali Tehrani - President
Dr. Ali Tehrani is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in Southern California. He is dually trained and licensed in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as General Surgery. Dr. Tehrani is committed to providing the finest surgical treatment available and offering the most state of the art procedures to his patients. He combines outstanding surgical skill and a keen eye for aesthetic enhancements to provide natural results. Dr. Tehrani’s passion includes reconstructive surgery and his experience along with the time he commits to his practice has allowed him to bring the most cutting edge techniques to his clients. Dr. Tehrani not only maintains a private practice but is also highly involved in philanthropy work. He is dedicated, methodical, and incredibly compassionate with each patient, providing the personalized attention and detail that brings unparalleled results.
Dr. William Chester - Co-Founder
Dr. William Chester is an Anesthesiologist with twenty-five years of service providing humanitarian medical aid. For Dr. Chester, medical missions have long been a passion and an opportunity to experience the world in a meaningful way. During his first year of residency at the National Naval Medical Center, Dr. Chester was invited to participate in an Operation Smile program in Kenya. He remembers, "That first mission was like an awakening. It touched on all the things I was interested in - travel, seeing new cultures, giving people a real chance for a better life." Dr. Chester has worked with several non-profit organizations such as Operation Smile, Children of the Andes and Pan American Medical Society (PAMS).
In 2003, Bill lost his son Paul in a tragic car accident. One year later, Dr. Chester co-founded the Paul Chester Children's Hope Foundation (PCCHF) in memory of his son, an extraordinarily bright and compassionate young man who showed a deep commitment to humanitarian work.
Since 2005, Dr. Chester has led teams of medical and surgical professionals to some of the world's most remote communities. In just a few years, PCCHF has provided medical care for over one thousand desperately needy patients in rural Kenya and Latin America.
Dr. Chester currently operates a private practice in the Washington D.C. area and cherishes spending time with his daughter, Alina and son Sean.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Patrick Heaphy - Past President 2012-2016
An entrepreneur in the marketing & advertising industry owner of LCM247 Digital Marketing and co-founder of WhoDIK.com, Patrick Heaphy brings that expertise to further the awareness of PCCHF’s humanitarian efforts. His involvement with PCCHF began while filming the foundation’s first mission to Quito, Ecuador in 2005. Witnessing the incredible impact that the work of the volunteer nurses and doctors had on the lives of children and their families, he felt a shared responsibility to see their work continue. Today, he is active in the day-to-day operations of PCCHF and continues to be vital part of sharing the experiences and accomplishments of the foundation with supporters around the globe through multimedia. A life long New Yorker, Patrick now resides in West Nyack with his wife and two daughters.
Nastassja Many - Past President 2009 - 2012
Nastassja Many studied political sciences in Belgium and England and attended the Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in Brussels. She has also worked for the United Nations, UNICEF and The European Union. Nastassja’s deep passion for and extensive travel in Africa motivates her to work with PCCHF. She recently starred in and was the executive producer of the French play La Dame Aux Camelias, in which she held the lead role as Marguerite Gautier. Her generosity allowed for part of the play’s proceeds to go directly to PCCHF. In July 2010 she joined the rest of the team on a mission to Malindi, Kenya, with her husband and 8-year-old twin boys. Nastassja served as PCCHF President from 2009-2012.
Alina Chester is an Investment Banking Associate in Miami, FL. She studied Middle Eastern Anthropology & Political Science at University of Florida and went on to get an International Masters in Business Administration at Florida International University. She is a registered broker and owns a marketing and sales consulting firm based out of Miami.
Alina is Paul's sister and has been traveling with PCCHF since she was 15. It inspired her to make volunteering a part of her life. Throughout her high school, college and masters degrees she volunteered at the Red Cross, the Office of Human Rights, Make A Wish Foundation, SOME (So Others Might Eat), DC Charter Schools tutoring, Invisible Children, and Young Bahamian Marine Scientists. For Alina, giving back began and continues with PCCHF.
Dr. Robert Darling
A founding principal and chief medical officer of Guardian 24/7, Dr. Robert Darling has provided health care to people at the highest levels of the U.S. military and government, and specialized in preparing for and responding to emergencies, disasters and other challenging conditions around the world. In 1996, Dr. Darling became the first board-certified emergency medicine physician to serve as White House physician. In addition to caring for the president, vice president, their families and other senior U.S. government officials, Dr. Darling traveled to more than 40 countries planning medical contingency operations for presidential visits.
Dr. Darling has served as director of the Navy Medicine Office of Homeland Security; director of the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland; and as a flight surgeon aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He also has served as flight surgeon and director of the Aeromedical Isolation Team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
After graduating from Adelphi University in 1981, Dr. Darling was commissioned in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. He received his Doctor of Medicine in 1985 from USUHS and completed his medical internship at Bethesda Naval Medical Center and basic flight training at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, Florida.
Dr. Darling is an assistant professor of Military and Emergency Medicine at the USUHS, where he serves on the medical school admissions committee, and continues as medical consultant to the CDHAM. He has authored numerous publications and has lectured both nationally and internationally. A member of the Adelphi University Board of Trustees, Dr. Darling lives in Germantown, Maryland, with his wife and three daughters.
Founder and President of Sun Asset Management, a New York based commodities trading firm started in 2005. Having graduated from Lehigh University in 1991 with a B.S. Degree in Finance, he began his career in the financial industry in 1991 at J.P. Morgan as a junior trader in the global securities lending department. In 1993 Mr. Goswami left J.P. Morgan to join Refco Institutional Management, at the time one of the largest institutional futures and commodities desks in the world, as an execution trader/research analyst. In 1998 Mr. Goswami joined Connecticut based commodities fund Graham Capital Management, initially as a U.S. futures markets trader and eventually running Graham’s Asian futures trading desk. In 2003, Mr. Goswami left Graham to join Unifund, a $2 billion private investment firm based in Geneva as a senior portfolio manager. At Unifund, Mr. Goswami was co-manager of an internal $20 million global macro fund and developed the quantitative strategies and risk management models used by the fund. Mr. Goswami left Unifund in 2005 to work full time on the development and refinement of the trading strategies which are currently in use by Sun Asset Management.
Jessica Holcombe, a native of North Carolina, currently owns and operates Short-Term Stow, a travel service business in New York City which she opened in 2013. After being introduced to PCCHF in 2008, she joined the team on a mission to Tumaco, Colombia in 2009. Since then, she joined the board to help with daily operations, fundraising and mission logistics. With a background in finance working at Morgan Stanley, Jessica helps track funds donated, maintains missions statistics and requests corporate funding. She has joined the team on several missions to Africa, Colombia & Dominican Republic.
Soon Kwon is a New Jersey native and a Penn State graduate. She works for the creative services department at Showtime Networks, Inc. in New York City, managing the on-air broadcast design studio as well as writing & producing promotional materials for the network. Motivated by the desire to utilize her talents to make a difference, she began her volunteer work with PCCHF in January 2008. Soon helps with the administrative & production duties surrounding PCCHF’s fundraising efforts. She plans to focus her efforts on helping to further develop the Student Volunteer program as well as expand the marketing & branding for the organization in the upcoming year.
President of The OMARA Organization, Inc., a Manhattan-based construction management firm. He has worked as a project engineer and manager in the construction industry for twenty years, and has a background in mechanical and civil engineering. Having joined the PCCHF Board in 2010, Gregg shares in the commitment to expand the reach of PCCHF to children and their families in developing areas of the world. Gregg lives in Westchester, NY with his wife and two daughters.